Eagles overreactions: Why Pederson's MNF was fire-able originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles have lost seven of 11 games this season, and they're not trending in the right direction.
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After yet another frustrating loss, here are three overreactions... except they might not be overreactions.
1. This Doug Pederson coaching performance was firing-worthy
I'm generally of the view that Doug Pederson deserves one more year to prove his worth as the Eagles' head coach.
But on Monday night the former Super Bowl champion coached the kind of game that will serve as prime evidence for his failures if Pederson is fired this offseason.
It's hard to choose the worst decision.
His handling of the Carson Wentz/Jalen Hurts situation is embarrassing and logic-less. If you're going to use the rookie quarterback because your starter is struggling, don't put him in for one play - a completion! - and then yank him for the rest of the game. Pederson has absolutely no clue what he's doing with the wonky quarterback dynamic he and the front office created.
Pederson channeled his inner Andy Reid early in the second half, torching two timeouts before the fourth quarter even began, including one on a challenge that was doomed before the red flag touched the grass at Lincoln Financial Field. Pederson's decisions are feeling less and less informed by evidence and data, and more like the moves of a man grasping at straws.
His playcalling, too, is leaving plenty to be desired. It started on the first drive of the game, a 13-second three-and-out, when Pederson opted to go pass three straight times after the Seahawks gave the Birds a 1st & 5 to begin the game.
Pederson shouldn't be fired mid-season; that would be hasty.
But the Eagles head coach right now seems as rudderless as his starting quarterback. Once a man who could motivate his players to perform above their ability, he's sinking to the level of his undermanned roster. It's an unfortunate marriage.
2. We overrated Darius Slay
Eagles fans were cautiously optimistic about the Eagles' decision to trade for Darius Slay this past offseason. Improving the cornerback position was a good idea; whether it would lift the entire defense was unclear.
The Eagles' defense wasn't the primary problem on Monday night, but Slay was bullied by D.K. Metcalf up and down the field to the tune of 10 catches for 177 yards, and the fact is the 29-year-old corner hasn't been the answer this year - nor has he lived up to his former reputation.
Now, Slay isn't alone in taking a loss against Metcalf. The second-year wideout is one of the best receiving threats in the NFL. But the whole point of adding a guy you feel can be a shutdown CB1 is to avoid these kinds of performances, where opposing wideouts just go to town.
Sometimes you get beat on perfect catches, like Metcalf's sideline snag early in the fourth.
These kinds of numbers, though...
That can't happen when you're making $14 million.
Slay also took an ill-advised unsportsmanlike penalty in the first quarter, and has generally failed to make a significant impact on games this season. He's still the Birds' best cornerback by far, but Slay isn't the game-breaking defender Eagles fans were hoping for, and it's going to take a lot of improvement around the veteran if this team wants to keep teams under 20 points, something they've done just once this year.
3. Jalen Reagor's performances are getting more concerning
I won't bludgeon you over the head with Justin Jefferson comparisons. You know the Vikings wideout is good, and you know the Eagles could've picked him instead of Reagor.
I'm more worried about Reagor himself.
The rookie missed time with injuries this season, but the football he's played so far has been extremely underwhelming. All Monday night long, the ESPN booth was concerned with Reagor's inability to get separation from his defender. Reagor's calling card was his speed; where has it gone?
Since his 55-yard catch in Week 1, Reagor has 18 catches for 167 yards and one touchdown, for a frustratingly low 9.2 yards per reception. That kind of inefficiency has been the M.O. of the Eagles' whole offense, but the whole point of drafting Reagor was to open the offense up. The opposite has happened.
I'm still not going to bury him just yet, because he's 21 years old and this entire offense feels broken right now.
But the young gun hasn't done anything to distinguish himself through Week 13, and in a year when rookie wide receivers are flashing all across the league, that's unacceptable.
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